Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Birthday Part 2

Location: Still in bed
Mood: Scratchy
Music: Take You High

So, I'm 33. Big whoop. A few months ago I actually forgot whether I was 32 or 33 when putting my age into the static bike and had to work it out from my d.o.b. Clearly the difference between the two ages is negligible, and the fact that I'm mentally struggling with dicreptitude anyway makes turning from a 2 into a 3 makes no odds.

My birthday, in contrast to the insignificance of my age, was a bit of a blinder. Yes, the walk we took on Saturday morning was supposed to be a chance to get the heart rate up and excuse a large lunch, and unfortunately proved to be a gentle stroll through pretty woods. Yes, the food at the Meikleour Inn was only ok (my 'rare' lamb chops weren't even vaguely pink and took some chewin') but all that made not a whit of difference. It was a lovely spot and the chat was good, so who cares about the details?

On returning home we played board games, like the young rockers we are - and Blar and I were seriously screwed over at the end of Articulate. We were so far ahead it wasn't even funny, but because we couldn't get an All Play at the end (clearly there was a great deal of cheating and so forth going on) we were sneaked out of the race by the Evil Janus and ... who the hell was she with? I think Spar. God - it's worse than I thought! Blar being beaten by Spar! She'll never live it down. Anyway, having been sorely pipped at the post, we retired with dignity. I watched a bit of fitba with some of the fellers, and then cooked up some roast pork for the 10 of us. I slightly overcooked it, which is a shame, but the crackling was good and Fisher did the roasties proud. Afterwards, to my honour and delight, I was presented with a birthday cake - which Blar had made with her own fair hands. Considering this is a woman who looks at all things cookery based as if she's been asked to construct the Great Wall with her bare hands, out of pebbles, it was remarkably touching. Naturally I expressed trepidation, and pretended that it took my full body weight to cut into it, because too much praise is bad for any budding chef, but in actual fact it was delicious. And yes, we did tell her so. I hope she continues to make such things and give them to me. But if that weren't enough, Spar and Blar also showered me with gifts: a 4-hole punch from Blar (yes, there's a story behind it), and the promise of tickets to the St Johnstone v Aberdeen game in January; a beautiful black top from Monsoon from Blar; the Fallout 3 walkthrough book from Baby Belle (which, considering how gory and inappropriate that is, is genius).

I neither deserve nor expect such largesse, or such excellent friends.

The day finished with some serious poker. Only a fiver went into the pot, but with 9 of us that meant £45 up for grabs, which nobody objects to. It went down to the wire between Spar and me, but as the 3am bells rang out we decided we could do one of two things:

1) Stay up all night and battle it out for the pot, OR
2) Blow it all on one hand, winner takes all.

So - 7 card stud, nothing wild, me dealing. Two down, four up. Nothing to show. Last card, down and dirty. Chips down. Everything to play for. Everything to lose.

Quick look. Alcohol fumes cloud the air as we both exhale. My deal, his declare.

He looks. He smiles.

Two pairs.

My hand?

I smile. It's all I can do.

I think there might have been a king in there somewhere.

So he was triumphant, but it was a game to remember - especially some fightin' play from Pro, who went all in but was beaten by my freak 4 of a kind. I was dealt a pair of queens, two more popped up on the flop - he played the odds, tried to scare me off, really made me fight to keep him in, then swallowed it hook line and sinker. It was heart in mouth time, left me with a fat pile of chips and him on the deck - but better to go out in a blaze of glory than nibble away at your chips like a thrifty squirrel and lose anyway.

So, 3.30am saw us turn in, much the worse for wear for alcohol and adrenaline. The following day saw some sorrowful faces, especially Pro, who'd decided to attempt a Campari experiment, despite my advice to the contrary. Campari is revolting stuff - more bitter than an ant's arse (I imagine) and 23% alcohol, making it just dangerous enough to do some damage. Of course, if you drink half a bloody pint of it, mixed with orange juice, your taste buds may well have withered enough by the end to stand it - but I really wouldn't recommend it as a cocktail. Especially not sandwiched between red wine and whisky - even if it does have a sparkly straw in it.

We went and had some lunch at the ever-reliable Gloagburn, and then everyone went their separate ways. Fisher and I were left to flop down in front of the telly, put our feet up and consume all the leftovers in a flagrant bid to destroy my diet completely. This, I believe, I have achieved.

However - on the diet front, I am now officially Back On Track. Ok, dinner was a bit on the hefty side, but I only had a single muffin with peanut butter throughout the rest of the day, and I did go to the gym. Unfortunately my attempt at a run was pathetic. I did 1.1 mile on the treadmill, pushing myself for speed and getting up to 8m.p.h for a wee bit, but could go no further. I copped out and took to the static bike instead. I did 30 minutes on the cross-country setting, but only went 6 miles. I think that's about half a mile less than last time, which is rubbish! Still, I must learn to take positives from each session (apparently) so I mildly approve of the fact that I did, in total:

40 minutes cardiovascular (10 running, 30 cycling)
20 press-ups (15 straight, the final 5 with a short pause)
3 sets of 12 chest press (37.5kg)
3 sets of 12 tricep curls (on 8 - 20kg?)
10 ab curls, shoulder to knee (10 on each side)
5 ab stretches, legs crossing in a downward pattern (all I could cope with before painpainpain)
1 1/2 sets of lat pull-downs on 7. I just couldn't face doing any more.

In the meantime, Fisher was off doing a 12 mile run in preparation for the Jedburgh half. She thoroughly enjoyed herself, which is great, but there's one problem from my perspective and that is: when she works out like that, she always needs a massively carbie dinner. Unfortunately, rather than cooking 2 different meals, I always just agree to eat whatever she's eating - which means the amount of food I consume almost certainly far outweighs my workout. I'm going to have to watch this. A chicken and cheese baguette with packet of McCoys and salad is not the way forward.

So that's all for now. Look, it's 3pm. I should probably get out of bed.